The Indiana University Creativity Labs have been busy lately with several E-Fashion Design workshops for youth. We ran two e-cuff workshops for Girl Scouts who ranged in age from about 9 to well in their teens, with a few adults participating too!
The scouts designed bracelets out of felt, into which they sewed 3-4 LilyPad LEDs of various colors, connecting them to a 3V coin cell battery with conductive thread. A metal snap acted as a switch for the bracelet. The girls learned about putting circuits in parallel, because in order to get all those LEDs to light up, they had to sew them in parallel. They also learned how a circuit must be a complete loop, since their bracelets only worked when they closed the snap and completed the loop of the circuit. And finally (with help from volunteer facilitators), they learned debugging skills when they ran into problems with their circuits, such as shorts. At the end, each scout received a Fashion badge.
The lab also provided an Electrici-Tee workshop for several girls in the Girls in STEM Science Saturdays program, sponsored by the university’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs (DEMA). Several middle-school girls used conductive thread to sew a LilyPad LED and an on-off switch into a t-shirt, powered by a 3V coin cell battery. Besides also learning what the Girl Scouts learned, these girls appreciated the chance to personalize their shirts with decorations, and the opportunity to learn how to sew, which many of them were previously unfamiliar with.
The adults who accompanied the girls to this program hadn’t been expecting to sew a circuit of their own, but we had enough materials to let them participate too!
Special thanks to all the sponsors and volunteers who helped make these workshops possible. We greatly appreciate your support of these programs that help to expand interest in and learning of STEM concepts through hands-on making!